ReFo: Colts @ Texans, Week 6
Thursday Night Football, home of the blowout, and that seemed likely again when the Indianapolis Colts raced out into a 17 point lead.
But a spirited comeback by the Houston Texans turned this midweek outing the most exciting of the year, as an improved defensive effort and some big plays on offense gave the team a chance to drive for the win with two minutes to go.
Unfortunately for Houston it wasn’t to be as some poor ball security by Ryan Fitzpatrick put a dampening on his day. The Colts on the other hand can breathe a sigh of relief after their offense exploded out of the blocks only to limp past the finishing line.
Let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy performances.
Indianapolis Colts – Performances of Note
T.Y. Hilton, WR: +4.1
Breakdown: That was some effort from Hilton who caught every ball thrown his way as the Texans secondary struggled to contend with his speed. 223 yards is always an impressive feat but it was the ease of which Hilton beat the coverage that really stood out.
Signature Stat: Moved up to 2.63 yards per route run on the year, eighth most of any receiver.
Pat McAfee, P: +5.8
Breakdown: I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about a punter in a ReFocused before, especially not for a winning team. But this warrants it. The onside recovery (whether called or a heads up play on his part) was executed perfectly, every deep kickoff went for a touchback and his punting had fantastic hangtime, location and distance so that none of those were returned. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Signature Play: A third onside kick recovery on the year by the Colts with 11.13 to go in the first quarter. It led to a free possession that may ultimately have been the difference between the two teams.
Gosder Cherilus, RT: -6.0
Breakdown: An ugly performance from the right tackle who may regard his late third down trip on J.J. Watt as his best play of the day. It was in the passing game he was particularly poor, failing on a cut block that almost led to a pick, beaten routinely by Watt, and even allowing a couple of hits to Brooks Reed.
Signature Stat: The Colts line were beat for 10 quarterback disruptions, with half of them the fault of Cherilus.
Houston Texans – Performances of Note
J.J. Watt, DE: +8.2
Breakdown: Initially it appeared the Colts were going to take him out of the game, devoting more blockers to Watt than he could handle. But whether they got overconfident or felt they needed to slow down Whitney Mercilus, Watt saw more one on one match ups as the game went on. The result was inevitable. Two more sacks, two more hits, two more hurries and two more batted passes. Throw in four defensive stops in the run game (including a tackle for a loss) and you’ve got what has become the standard Watt display.
Signature Play: With 12.15 to go in Q3 he breezes past Cherilus before sacking Andrew Luck.
Xavier Su’a-Filo, RG: -5.4
Breakdown: Welcome to the big leagues. A first start in place of Brandon Brooks and a first taste of how difficult life in the NFL is. The second rounder was exposed in pass protection on multiple occasions as the Colts linemen found success against him. In fairness he looked to settle down somewhat in the second half but the game looked a little quick for him.
Signature Play: It was early on (Q1, 6.22) that he allowed Cory Redding to beat him inside, with the pressure forcing him into a sack courtesy of Erik Walden.
Whitney Mercilus, OLB: +6.2
Breakdown: As good as he has ever looked. Mercilus showed off some explosion as he makes a bid for playing time before Jadeveon Clowney returns. It wasn’t just that he was getting pressure (something he has long struggled to do) but he really made life hard for the talented Anthony Castonzo, routinely turning the corner on him.
Signature Stat: Earned a higher mark for his work in the run game (+3.5) than his pass rushing, leading the team with five defensive stops against the run including three for a loss.
PFF Game Ball
There were a lot of strong performances here, some that I haven’t given the attention they deserved (apologies to Luck and Arian Foster chiefly). But T.Y. Hilton made the plays that won the game and for that he gets the nod.